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Discrimination against Hindus in Pakistan



While Pakistan's Sindh province boasts a rich Hindu history and tradition, it stands out as an anomaly in the predominantly Muslim country. Discrimination, however, is on the rise through the landscape of Pakistan, and Sindh in particular, retains a Hindu imprint.


Historically, Pakistan was home to a thriving Hindu community dating back to the ancient Indus Valley Civilisation. However, events such as the 1947 partition led to mass violence, forcing millions of Hindus and Sikhs to flee to India. The Hindu population in West Pakistan declined from 15% at the time of Partition to approximately 2% in 1951. Today, Hindus comprise only 1.6%, and major cities like Lahore have seen a drastic decline in their Hindu/Sikh communities.


Extremism and sectarian violence are on the rise in Pakistan, fueled by terrorist groups promoting Islamic rule and violent jihad. These groups operate freely, influencing government policies and education. Islamic student organizations and legislation have made Quranic studies mandatory in universities and schools, fostering an environment of intolerance. Educational institutions, including madrassas, teach hatred towards Hindus and Christians, contributing to a regressive and extremist atmosphere. Young children are even influenced to express violent sentiments.


As children studying in Pakistan, we were consistently taught to harbor negative sentiments against Hindus, fostering unwarranted hatred without any legitimate justification. Making comments such as "go back to your country" became normalized, overlooking the fact that one's religion does not dictate their nationality. Being Hindu does not negate someone's Pakistani identity.

Throughout our school years, a uniform narrative prevailed, painting Hindus in a negative light, ingraining a prejudiced aversion towards them.


Secondly, abduction and forced conversion of Hindu girls in Pakistan have reached alarming levels, with an estimated 1000 Hindu and Christian girls being forcibly converted to Islam annually. These girls are often subjected to heinous acts such as forced marriages to much older men, sexual assault, human trafficking, and forced prostitution. Between 2004 and 2018, the Sindh province alone reported 7430 cases of kidnapped Hindu girls, indicating a pervasive issue.



It’s important to note that Pakistan's legal system lacks adequate safeguards for underage minority girls, leaving them vulnerable to abduction, forced conversion, and marriage.

This reminds me of this one case, involving a Hindu lady employed at a salon I would go to in Karachi. During a conversation where I complimented her name, she nervously disclosed that it wasn't her real name. When I inquired about her actual name, she hesitated, expressing fear that revealing her Hindu identity could place her in jeopardy.


This anecdote underscores the broader challenges faced by Hindu women in Pakistan. The societal expectation for them to hide their religious identity is unjust, prompting the question: Why should they be compelled to conceal their identity in their own country?


The lack of legal safeguards not only leaves underage minority girls vulnerable but also perpetuates an environment where individuals like the Hindu lady at the salon feel the need to hide their true selves for fear of potential harm. This situation raises fundamental concerns about the principles of equality, freedom, and security within a society that should ideally embrace diversity and protect the rights of all its citizens.

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This is a crucial topic, Esha. Thank you for addressing it! I recall a class presentation where someone showed a BBC documentary and Hindu students shared their experiences in schools. One boy mentioned how the textbooks in Pakistan Studies labeled 'Hindus' as enemies. Furthermore, every student discussed being referred to as Indians, not Pakistanis. This notion is absurd. When this country was formed, minorities were promised full rights, but it seems to cater only to Sunni Muslims. I discussed 'Pakistan will be Sunnistan' in one of my blogs – do check it out.

I hope we come to realize that minorities have rights just as much as we do.


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Hello Fatima, I had the chance to read your blog on Sunnistan, and I resonate with your perspective. It's disheartening that other minorities in our country don't enjoy the same rights. We often overlook the fact that, ultimately, being a Pakistani isn't tied to religion.


During our Madrassa presentation in class, Mahnoor and I shared a video featuring a madrassa student reading from a Pakistani book that labeled Hindus as "Kaafir." This raises serious concerns about the teachings in our country. If such sentiments are ingrained in our educational materials, achieving equal rights for minorities becomes even more of a challenge.

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Thank you for addressing this concern. I think this is quite a pressing issue which is not very openly discussed within the context of our nation. My school narrative, about negative perceptions of Hindu align with yours as I too was made generalize Hindu's with a negative or rather evil connotation through our history textbooks and discussions. Coming into university and studying the events more comprehensively made me understand that it was not a clear black and white picture. There were many complexities added to it and there is no reason to adopt such strong feelings of hate towards them. I remember a Hindu friend of mine was made to leave the classroom because the teacher explicitly wanted to discuss…

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Your anecdote about your Hindu friend being asked to leave the classroom during a discussion of a historical event that portrayed Hindus negatively is deeply troubling. It underscores the need for a more inclusive approach to education that fosters understanding rather than perpetuating stereotypes.

I completely agree with your proposed solution. Actively facilitating open and constructive conversations between different religious communities is crucial. Encouraging community leaders, educators, and influencers to engage in discussions that promote mutual understanding, dispel stereotypes, and build bridges of empathy is a powerful way to address these issues at their roots.

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Great blog Esha. I vividly remember back in sixth grade when a hindu student came to our school, and the teachers inherently had a different attitude towards him. I was first confused as to why, only to realize it later that it was due to his religion. This posed a question in my mind that you've also asked in your blog, why was it that he had to work towards being accepted for who he was before he could make any friends? when clearly his religion was not even his fault. I think the problem lies within our traditions and our community which so strictly forms an Us Vs Them narrative, which we are forcefully fed throughout our childhood. what…

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I wholeheartedly agree with your perspective. From childhood, we are often conditioned to associate Hindus with India, even when they are Pakistani. Shifting away from this mindset is crucial, emphasizing the need to teach young minds about tolerance towards different religions. It's essential to recognize that one's religion doesn't define their character; someone can be a wonderful Muslim but a horrible human being, highlighting the importance of judging individuals based on their actions rather than their religious identity. I think by challenging the narratives that perpetuate division, we can work towards building a society where acceptance is not contingent on one's religious background.

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Hey Esha! I have written a similar article on the discrimination faced by the religious minority and I completely agree with your stance on this prevalent issue going on in Pakistan. It is heart-wrenching to see how such young Hindu and Christian girls are forced to convert and marry off to older men as sex slaves for their pleasure. It is astonishing to see how Islam promotes peace and allows everyone to live their life in their way and accept Islam wholeheartedly but in Pakistan, this very core value is not adopted by the Muslims themselves. The preconceived notion of associating the Hindu religion with India and Muslims with Pakistan has taken away the nationalities of those minorities living in…

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Your observation about the preconceived notion of associating Hinduism with India and Islam with Pakistan resonates deeply. This association has, unfortunately, led to the erasure of national identity for minorities in both countries.


Through Burhan's blog, I gained insights on Hindu teacher instructing her students to repeatedly slap a Muslim boy. This serves as concrete evidence that religious intolerance issues amongst India and Pakistan are a significant concern. The struggle for acceptance and the impact of educational curriculum on promoting intolerance are glaring issues that demand attention.


I think, through open dialogue, education, and collective efforts, we can work towards fostering a society where everyone, regardless of their religious background, is accepted and respected on their own merits.

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